Family Of Slain Officer Denounces Judge's Ruling - KMSP-TV

Family Of Slain Officer Denounces Judge's Ruling on Death Penalty

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A family is outraged as a convicted cop killer gets off death row. A judge vacated the death sentence for Edward Bracey convicted of killing officer Danny Boyle back in the early 1990s.

For the family of slain Police Officer Daniel Boyle the pain of losing a loved one over 22 years ago just doesn't go away.

"It just rips open wounds that we had to suffer at the trial and his execution," said Pat Boyle, the officer's father.

The Boyle family joined Philadelphia police officers and others to protest Monday's ruling of Judge Teresa Sarmina. She vacated convicted killer Edward Bracey's death sentence, ordering him to serve life without parole. She found Bracey was "mentally retarded" and could not be executed under a 2002 Supreme Court ruling.

"I think it's an insult to our citizens who may be mentally challenged," Pat Boyle told a packed press conference at FOP Headquarters. "It's cheap, it's cowardly and it's demeaning. This is a miscarriage of justice. It's outrageous."

"He knew enough to shoot a police officer on that day so he wouldn't get caught," said FOP President John McNesby.

Officer Boyle was a rookie when he was gunned down in February 1991 by Bracey during a stolen car stop at Germantown and West York Street. A plaque now lies there in his memory. The Boyles withstood six appeals in Bracey's case. Prosecutors said Tuesday Bracey's death sentence had been already been affirmed by the courts in 1998.

"In no way did the defendant prove he was mentally retarded," said First Assistant District Attorney Edward McCann.

"They have not said Edward Bracey is not to be punished, they've said he is not to be executed," said Mark Brookman of the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation. "Judge Sarmina's ruling keeps him in prison for the rest of his life."

The judge's ruling incensed McNesby and police. The district attorney will review Judge Sarmina's ruling and decide within 30 days whether to appeal.

"We will not rest until the assassin of Danny Boyle gets what he deserves," McNesby promised. "If he shot a judge instead of a cop he would already be dead."

"The victim and the victim's family are forgotten about in this process. It's all about the defendant," Pat Boyle added.

"We don't have a functioning death penalty in Pennsylvania," McCann said.

Prosecutors believe Bracey will be kept on death row if they appeal this case and until it is reviewed by the Supreme Court.

The justices could have refused to review it and the judge's ruling would stand or they could hear the case, but that could take as long as a year.

The Boyle family meanwhile has to prepare for another possible round of court hearing and more suffering.

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